Key Points to Consider When Shopping for Business and Commercial Auto Insurance

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Coverages Available in Commercial Auto Insurance

Business owners realize the importance of making sure that their business is well protected from all risks that can affect their businesses. A vehicle that is owned by the business may put the business in jeopardy of a lawsuit in the event of an accident if the accident is caused by that vehicle or its operators. The following are key points that business owners need to remember when shopping for commercial auto insurance.

Personal or Business Insurance: Take commercial auto coverage anytime the vehicle is titled in the name of the business, regardless of the size of car and regardless if the car is for doing business or pleasure. The titleholder of the vehicle (in this case it is the business) may be sued as a result of at fault accidents, bringing the entire business in a legal preceding. If the insurance coverage is not under the name of the business, then the business may have some issues related to the validity of the insurance coverage.

Liability Limits: Insurance companies offer different liability limits, from the basic limits mandated by law (in Illinois it is 20,000/40,000/15,000) to as high as one million dollar for every accident. A business that insures its commercial vehicles at the basic liability limits of ($20,000 bodily injury per person, $40,000 bodily injury per accident, and $15,000 property damage per accident) is certainly running in a big risk of losing its business assets in case of at fault accident involving their business autos with death or serious injury to others. High insurance limits are required to avoid losing business assets in case of auto accidents.

Vehicle Classification: Improper classification of the commercial auto may result in voiding insurance coverage, therefore, rendering policy useless and putting business in significant risk of losing business assets in the event of at fault automobile accident. A truck that is used by an electrician has different classification than a similar truck used as a dump truck. The two trucks have different classes and their premiums are not similar in amount.

Autos that are titled in the name of a business, or ones that is used to run a business must have commercial auto insurance coverage. The following are examples of automobiles that need commercial insurance coverages:

All trucks (local or long hauls), Artisans and all contractors, Messenger and delivery services, Ice cream vendors, Landscaping, Limousine services insurance, Para-Transit transportation insurance, Religious and non-profit, Food services and restaurant insurance, Pickup truck insurance, Truck insurance, Tow truck insurance, Dump truck insurance, Landscaping insurance, Snow plowing, Commercial Vans. etc.

Business Auto Mandatory Coverage Includes:

(1) Liability. In the State of Illinois a minimum of $20,000 bodily injury per person, $40,000 bodily injury per accident, and $15,000 property damage per accident is required from all registered vehicles, personal or commercial. Some commercial autos that need federal filing or state filing may need higher limits. For example, a limo operating in Chicago need to have a minimum of $350,000 in auto liability. A truck that transports hazardous materials is required to have at least one million dollars in auto liability coverage.

(2) Uninsured Motorist/ UM Coverage. In Illinois a minimum of $20,000 bodily injury per person, $40,000 bodily injury per accident is required for Uninsured Motorist/ UM coverage. These are the limits that your insurance company will pay people in your business vehicle in the event of them being injured by some uninsured motorist. This coverage may not apply if the accident is work related, and if the business workers compensation policy comes in the picture.

(3) Other coverages may be required, based on the nature of the business. For example, certain long haul trucking businesses are required to meet FHA Insurance Requirements, and their filing may be require to have Cargo Coverage in place.

Some Optional Coverages for Business Vehicle Includes:

(1) Physical Damage Coverage- Comprehensive coverage will pay for physical damage to the insured vehicles caused by a variety of risks, including fire, lightning, theft, vandalism, hail and flood. Collision will pay when the auto is physically damaged in an accident involving another vehicle or a stationary object, such as a wall, telephone pole, or guardrail.

(2) Underinsured Motorist/ UIM Coverage. In Illinois a minimum of $20,000 bodily injury per person, $40,000 bodily injury per accident is required for UIM (Underinsured Motorist, bodily injury.) These are the maximum limits that your company will pay people in the insured commercial vehicle in the event of them being injured by an insured motorist. Remember that this coverage will not apply if the accident was work related.

(3) Medical Payments: The coverage will pay medical care expenses for the insured(if you are not covered by workers’ compensation) as well as passengers in your auto.

(4) Hired and Non-owned Auto: Pay for damages the business is legally obligated to pay due to bodily injury or property damages that happens during the use, loading or unloading of hired or non-owned autos used for your business.

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